δ · Clotho makes a Run for it
We left off with Clotho jumping over the walls of Juba’s palace and fleeing. Ladios Sopp yells “Clotho!” and begins his pursuit, with Voards Viewlard close behind. All three are magnificent athletes and would make a tiny yet fearsome Olympic squad!
On the face of it, Sopp has made a huge mistake here. Remember when Voards picked him up? Ladios pretended not to know anything about the debut of the Fatimas, yet now he’s recognizing one and calling her by name! And Voards is smart. The English translation has him say: “Is she why you’re here?” but in fact the original has “Are they why you’re here?”. He has realized the Fatimas (Clotho and Lachesis) are Sopp’s reason for being here. Which means Sopp’s been lying. Which means there’s more to him than meets the eye. That said, I write “on the face of it” because it’s hard when it comes to Ladios to know when he’s being deliberate or not.
Clotho has been told by her sister to head for Betolca, the town where Dr. Morard, Chrome Ballanche’s fellow meight friend, lives. It’s interesting to see this Morard / Ballanche dynamic, especially as we’re fresh off the prologue, where Ballanche’s Teata beat Morard’s Est. Looking at a map, though, we can see that Betolca is roughly halfway between Bastogne (in the south) and the Ballanche castle grounds (in the north).
Ultimately Clotho is fleeing in the direction of her birthplace. And the distances are quite small, as Ballanche Castle is said to be a 45 minute car ride from Bastogne! We see from the manga that she’ running at 150 km/h so it should be a cinch (initially she runs WSW but that might be to confuse her pursuers).
The scene where Colus III rescues Clotho is classic or cliché according to your tastes. A group of nasty guys surround the girl, they start telling her to take her clothes off, the cloaked dude comes along, he beats them up. There’s an even more primal, cartoonish trope here, after Clotho faints. She opens her eyes, looks into Colus’ face and says: Mommy Master, as if she were a chick just hatched from the egg and staring into a big, grumpy dog’s face [Looney Tunes did this somewhere…]
But Nagano does something nice with this situation. Traditionally, when the little one says “Mommy” she’s wrong, and the discoverer of the egg tells him/her so. Indeed, Colus immediately says, “No, not me, child” just like he’s supposed to. But how can he be qualified to say that? Whoever a Fatima chooses, that person is her Master. Colus III is a headdliner, so there’s no trouble there, but he somehow feels that she is mistaking him for his (unborn) son or grandson. Now, since Clotho has just awoken from a fainting spell, her vision is blurry and she might indeed have mistaken the King for one of his descendants [although how she would know what face future generations of the Dynasty will have is, well, a mystery].
Of course, since Fatimas can live longer than humans, it’s just as well that Colus III becomes her Master now and then they can both wait and see if Colus IV or Colus V is the One.
After Clotho’s “debut” has been concluded, the Mirage Knights arrive. We know from Voard’s description earlier that these are Spacorn, Ex, Nomien and Graphight. Very striking character designs! Spacorn reminds me a lot of Rutger Hauer as a Replicant in Blade Runner, Lie Ex looks like some fantastic lady dreamed up by an artist commissioned to do a poster for a Parisian show circa 1910. Even Sopp is scared of these guys! [You really have to hand it to Sopp for his performance: it’s divine!]
Clotho begs Ladios to take Lachesis in. His reassurance to her, “I’m here, right?” would seem to suggest collusion between Lachesis and Sopp, maybe through Chrome. This would explain why Lachesis told her sister to run away but elected to stay herself: she knew Sopp would come. And yet that very night, Sopp remembers young Lachesis’ pledge to him and mutters to himself: “I’m sorry, sweetheart, I can’t.”
Very interesting. Another mystery is the two cloaked men seen by Colus III in Betolca. They wear odd symbols that look like a cross between the Islamic crescent & star and the Soviet hammer & sickle and they were present at the festivities in Bastogne prior.
NOTE ON GREEK MYTHOLOGY AND THE FATIMAS:
Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos are the names of the three Fates (a.k.a. Moirae) in Greek mythology: the goddesses that control the lifespan of all beings as if it were a thread. Clotho spins the thread, Lachesis measures it and Atropos cuts it. The three corresponding Fatimas in Five Star Stories share more than their names with these deities.
Another triad of Greek deities is nominally represented in FSS: the Furies (a.k.a. Erinyes). These are goddesses of vengeance, especially vengeance from the dead. Their names Alecto, Megaera and Tisiphone. In the English version of the manga their names are Alecto, Magaella and Tisphone, so the names are essentially the same. Alecto is Aisha Codante’s Fatima, Magaella belongs to Voards, and Tisphone is Spacorn’s. However, I still don’t know if this trio’s personalities and actions will resemble their Greek originals.
MAMORU NAGANO ON CLOTHO:
Question no. 22 from the Questionia Book is: Which is your favorite Fatima? Nagano’s reply:
“Clotho, probably. Because for every panel I draw with that girl I feel like my lifespan has shrunk by a hundred days. It takes guts. Even for an author like myself…”
[covered VOLUME 2: from the beginning of the volume to page 32]